lunar-prospector

NASA’s Lunar Prospector spacecraft launch from Cape Canaveral Air Station on January 6, 2008. Lunar Prospector was a spin-stabilized spacecraft designed to provide the first global maps of the Moon’s surface and its gravitational magnetic fields, as well as look for ice near the lunar poles.

by NASA on The Commons

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Eugene Shoemaker was a planetary scientist. On July 31, 1999, some of his ashes were carried to the Moon by the Lunar Prospector space probe in a capsule designed by Carolyn Porco. He is the only human in history to have their ashes buried on the moon. (Source)

Earth's moon wandered off axis billions of years ago

A new study published today in Nature reports discovery of a rare event – that Earth’s moon slowly moved from its original axis roughly 3 billion years ago. Ancient lunar ice indicates the moon’s axis slowly shifted by 125 miles, or 6 degrees, over 1 billion years. Earth’s moon now a member of solar system’s exclusive ‘true polar wander’ club, which includes just a handful of other planetary bodies.

Planetary scientist Matt Siegler at Southern Methodist University, Dallas, and colleagues made the discovery while examining NASA data known to indicate lunar polar hydrogen. The hydrogen, detected by orbital instruments, is presumed to be in the form of ice hidden from the sun in craters surrounding the moon’s north and south poles. Exposure to direct sunlight causes ice to boil off into space, so this ice – perhaps billions of years old – is a very sensitive marker of the moon’s past orientation.

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